Tomorrow, on Thanksgiving, Americans will gather with family and friends to share a meal and give thanks to God for our many blessings. It is one of America’s most beloved holidays — one of those rare times when we come together to reaffirm the principle that the good we have received as a nation and as individuals is a gift from God.

On this day, one of the things I will give thanks for — as I do every day — is the continued and faithful support for Israel and the Jewish people shown by The Fellowship’s supporters. What a blessing it has been to suffering Jews in Israel and around the world! And this year, through your generosity, more Jews have been brought to their biblical homeland, more hungry Jews have been fed, and more Jewish orphans been given safe, comfortable places to live than ever before.

Today I want to share with you just a few words of thanks from those you have helped, so that you can understand the depth of their heartfelt appreciation:

“If it weren’t for The Fellowship, I don’t think I would be able to go on. I’m grateful to you and I bless you from the bottom of my heart.” Stanislav, a young man from the Ukraine who came to Israel On Wings of Eagles.

“I want to say thank you very much to all of the donors. You've given us the opportunity to be in a place that is helping us understand that there's a Creator and a deeper meaning to life.” Tamar, who attends the Guardians of Israel-funded Bat Zion boarding school in Jerusalem.

“My parents often said that angels are here on earth. I was losing faith that they even existed in heaven, but you have restored my faith.” Rachel Leah, an elderly Russian Jew who receives essential support through The Fellowship’s Isaiah 58 program.

What wonderful testimonies to the blessings you have bestowed on the poor and needy through your support of The Fellowship’s programs! I can assure you there are many, many more stories like this — I know, because I hear them every time I visit Fellowship projects in Israel, the former Soviet Union, and other parts of the world.

Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, one of the great Jewish theologians of the 20th century, once summed up the necessity for giving thanks to God in all things: “How strange we are in the world, and how presumptuous our doings! Only one response can maintain us: gratefulness for witnessing the wonder, for the gift of our unearned right to serve, to adore, and to fulfill. It is gratefulness which makes the soul great.”

This Thanksgiving, may your heart be filled with gratefulness for the many blessings in your life, and brimming over with thanks to the God Who is the source of all those blessings.

With prayers for shalom, peace,

Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein